Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nearly There.........

We close the office tomorrow at 11 and go to the company picnic. Not something I'm terribly excited about. Why not just give me the afternoon off? I don't even like most of these people. Why do they presume I want to play volleyball or swim with them or even sit and talk to them? Why do company force socialization on people who do not have anything in common but their job? Particularly in this company! I'm not saying that I'm not "friendly" with the employees but lets face it, I'm not interested in the lottery, sports, gambling on the boat, bars, clubs, etc. You get my drift.

So, every year they spend a lot of money getting a clubhouse at a local park where the is swimming... with lots of other people I do not know. Last year I took a deck of cards and Carolyn and I played Uno. A few others drifted over and joined us. Carolyn shares my feelings about these things.

I guess we are just no friendly. But maybe that isn't true. Our senior aide will be leaving tomorrow. She told us today that she could always count on a laugh coming from either Carolyn's office or mine. That is nice. She called us Mutt & Jeff. I laughed and told her I'd not heard that in many years. Mutt & Jeff was a comic strip in the "funnies" for a long time. Two guys, one very tall and the other very short. Carolyn is tall and I'm average. But I guess we are funny. Other staff do laugh at us a lot. Still, for someone who's only known us a year to say that is flattering.

Anyway, I'll probably, I hope, be able to slip away around 3 p.m.

Tonight was the writer's meeting. We have four there. Two others were away. I've written up the meeting on the The Writers' Asylum blog for those who are interested.

I'm headed for bed very soon. I got a relatively good sleep last night but woke at 6 a.m. That is an ungodly hour but I have to get up early tomorrow. Dave's brakes went out on his car. He has to have a way to work. So, he'll take me, got himself and I'll pick up my car before I leave for the picnic or after I get back. He works 9-6 and I work 8-5 So it is a juggling act.

I'm headed for bed and the weekend. A 3-day weekend! Yipee.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Nice Break

My brother, Bill, called me this morning. He had to drop a load in Mt.
Vernon, IN. That is only 30 minutes from here and we arranged to meet
for lunch. It was nice to see him, even for a short time. I don't get
to see him as much as I'd like because the distance and because he is
always on the road. He drives a big truck.

I came back to the office and tried to get some paperwork done. I've
not had a good couple of days. In fact, the week has not been very
good. Part of it is things at work but I know part of it is me.I have
just been down and last night I simply sat and watched t.v. shows on
Hulu. I picked Sarah up from daycare after work and dropped her off
and went to Joann fabrics to get some trims for her skirts, then I
went home. My original intent was to cut skirts out but I just found I
had no desire to do anything.

I don't have the terrible bouts of crying anymore. But in some ways I
wish I did. Now it is this awful empty feeling where you want to cry
but can't. I had such a rough couple of days at work. I remembered
several years ago under my old boss how things got terrible and I'd go
home to rant and get it off my chest. Jerry would sit and listen and
ask questions or offer sympathy. Sometimes I'd get annoyed at the
questions. Now, my stress pours into the air surrounding me and
darkens it. Coming home on Tuesday I was overwhelmed with the
realization that I'd only added to Jerry's misery with my gripes. He
couldn't fix it for me, hated that I had to work, hated not to be able
to take care of me. It must have been horrendous to sit and listen to
me and be totally helpless. It had to have simply cut him to the bone.

Tonight I'm very tired and on my way to bed. I've had a long day and
I've found that it is one of those days when I seem very confused,
unable to focus, and even my speech seemed affected during the move
briefing. I couldn't get the words to come out right. I felt very
stupid but I knew it was because I just was not all there.

Anyway, I'm off for now. Tomorrow night it the writers' meeting.
Lately I've been tired and not really able to focus on the meetings as
well as I would like so I hope tomorrow I'll find myself less tired.

Monday, June 27, 2011

End of a Busy Monday

I'm all tucked up in bed getting ready to turn out the lights. First things this morning I had a doctor's appointment with my new, old doctor. I used this doctor back in 2005 and had to change after a year or so because she wasn't on the new insurance. She is not and I immediately got in to see here. I go back in a month after she's reviewed my files and see what she wants to do for labs to get caught up. She want to review the last years lab work and tests.

I had lunch after this and went in to work at 1 p.m. and was so busy dealing with computer problems and records that I needed to process. One client called my boss and said I'd treated him differently than I had the white people.... that I had not given him as much time as I did the white folks.

Half my co-workers are black, as is my boss. You'd think my racism would have surfaced after 13 years. My boss told the guy that he worked well with me but he'd pass along his concerns. He did in an email to me. My opinion was that he thought he'd get special treatment if he used the race card. I told my boss that because the man had made the complaint I'd no longer discuss anything with him alone and all phone calls would be witnessed and he'd have to appoint the person to be the witness since I didn't want the man saying I'd chosen a white person over a black. I then made a call to the man with a black co-worker present and told him that all further contact would be witnessed. He never even acknowledged that he's made the complaint!

I had to call his landlord who is another black co-worker and told her about the problem I was having and to give her details she needed on his file. She laughed and said, "I guess I must be white!" She is a big girl and every time she sees me she hugs me.

There is a saying in the department. "Don't tic off the case manager." Every one I know tries very hard to assist clients with problems but when you get a client who lies on you just to get special treatment, you just lost your advocate. We do not attempt to get even. We don't have to. We all know that at some point that particular client is going to be in trouble with their housing. We'll be waiting.

When the day ended in a flurry, I came home to spend the evening with Dave, Becca, and Sarah. It was nice. They had not been over in awhile and I enjoyed it. I ironed the fabric for the next round of sewing.

Now, it is time for beddie-bye. I'm tired and my back is not happy for being here. Hope you all are doing well. I have posted the link to my sewing blog. I have, at this point, only posted what is currently posted here so it won't be new stuff. But I'm looking forward to putting up some other things as I do them. I just counted and with the multiply blog, I have 9 blogs but only about 4 are open and active. Still, it is a lot. I wonder if this means I'm published?




Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sarah Said...

A couple of weeks ago Sarah met a new friend who lives downstairs from her. The little girl is not quite a year younger and Sarah was very excited to meet her. Well, except for the language barrier. You see when they met, the little girl was pretending to be a frog and every time Sarah tried to talk to her she would say "Ribbit!"

Finally, Sarah, being a practical girl like her Mawmaw, looked at her, waved her hand and said, "I don't speak frog."

***************************************

Last Monday after work I joined Sarah and her parents at the zoo. It was a members only event where all the stuff that usually cost was free for two hours. Our zoo is a 4 hour trip but that's another story. As our time was running out we headed over to the bumper boats. These are in what used to be the monkey exhibit. It is a "Pirate Ship" in the middle of a pool of water. When we came to Evansville it had monkeys on the boat and alligators in the water. Today, it is an empty ship with three bumper boats in the water.

Sarah was so excited and getting tired. The line was long and as we were at the end, she kept telling her daddy she didn't want to wait. We told her she had to wait or we had to leave. The next minute she decided she wanted to get in the pool and play in the water. We told her she couldn't do that either. This went back and fourth for about 20 minutes with her father giving her all the reasons she couldn't get in the pool. Finally, she said, "Daddy, can you push me in and say it was an accident?



Raging Rain, Raging Pain

I woke sometime in the middle of the night. Since it was midnight before I went to bed it must have been in the wee hours of the morning. I'd guess around 3 or 4 a.m. It was deafening. The thunder sounded as if it was in the room with us and the rain was torrential. And I was in agony. My hands, feet, knees and hip were all screaming nearly as loud as the storm. I rolled out of bed and could barely stand but I managed to stagger down the hall to check things out. After I found everything secure, I went back to bed. I think I took some generic Tylenol but I'm not sure. I can't remember hurting so bad in a while.

On Saturday I woke with pain as well but it passed off after the first storm rolled by. Waking up in the midst of that deluge this morning reinforced my feelings that the weather here is a huge factor in my pain levels. My hands, particularly my left is still very painful. The sky is heavily overcast. My feet are better and so are my knees and hip. I have to tell you, I'm not looking forward to another storm like last night. I have no fear of storms, would even walk in the middle of one with great pleasure. Not this morning.

We did not get up to go to church because I overslept. Well, midnight to bed and awake before dawn and the pain all insured I was not able to get up. I'd have gone anyway but for the pain.

I've added another blog to my blogger account! I know! Crazy. Actually, I realized I'm putting a lot of sewing stuff up here and organizer than I am, I like having it a bit more structured. So, while I'll still post it here, there is a blog on blogger now devoted to my sewing and craft stuff. You know, the stuff I haven't done yet but am going to do.

Actually, the sewing is slow but I am enjoying it again. I had such fun with Sarah's Alligator skirt (http://dixiegirlsplace.multiply.com/video/item/462/Sewing_with_Dixie_Part_3). It came out so cute. I have several other items to make for her and I'm getting pretty good with keeping the video's at 15 minutes or less by cutting out a lot of needless stuff. I've learned to make slideshows, too! I still get annoyed with the Movie Maker program. It hangs up now and then and won't publish. I can promise you that no one would keep trying but me. There are two versions of Movie Maker. One is a Windows version and the other is a Windows Live version. I don't know why. The Live version is fine but harder to trim the videos. The Windows version works best for the trimming phase but I can't then transfer them to Live. Downloaded videos are in a Quicktime format and only the Live version will open them! So you can see it is a bit of juggling to get what I want. I'm getting better.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

You Can Look It Up

Please take note of WHO is making all the decisions about WHO gets health care. No, I don't know if it is true. You can look it up but I find it highly enlightening.

Obama Care Highlighted by Page Number

THE CARE BILL HB 3200


JUDGE KITHIL IS THE 2ND OFFICIAL WHO HAS OUTLINED THESE PARTS OF THE CARE BILL. Judge Kithil of Marble Falls, TX - highlighted the most egregious pages of HB3200. Please read this........ especially the reference to pages 58 & 59


JUDGE KITHIL wrote:


** Page 50/section 152: The bill will provide insurance to all non-U.S. residents, even if they
are here illegally.

** Page 58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an individual's bank account
and will have the authority to make electronic fund transfers from those accounts.

** Page 65/section 164: The plan will be subsidized (by the government) for all union members, union retirees and for community organizations (such as the Association of CommunityOrganizations for Reform Now - ACORN).

** Page 203/line 14-15: The tax imposed under this section will not be treated as a tax.
(How could anybody in their right mind come up with that?)

** Page 241 and 253: Doctors will all be paid the same regardless of specialty, and the
government will set all doctors' fees.

** Page 272. section 1145: Cancer hospital will ration care according to the patient's age.

** Page 317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on hospital expansion; however, communities may petition for an exception.

** Page 425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care planning consultations.
Those on Social Security will be required to attend an "end-of-life planning" seminar every
five years. (Death counseling..)

** Page 429, line 13-25: The government will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order.

HAD ENOUGH???? Judge Kithil then goes on to identify: "Finally, it is specifically stated that this bill will not apply to members of Congress. Members of Congress are already exempt from the Social Security system, and have a well-funded private plan that covers their retirement needs. If they were on our Social Security plan, I believe they would find a very quick 'fix' to make the plan financially sound for their future."

(Such bills are available for review at the congressional websites. On a lighter note, it is nce to know that nursing homes will be a thing of the past.")

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Bed is Calling

I'm just on my way to bed but stopped in to catch up on blogs and comments. I worked on Sarah's green skort set. I've been busy with the house since I got over my cold and I simply have not had time to touch the machine, nor inclination if you consider how tired I've been.

Anyway, I hope to finish them up tomorrow night. Then, it will be another round of cutting out I hope by the weekend. I will cut out as much as I can and leave it in a nice neat stack ready to sit and sew together. One day of cutting usually can result in a month of items to sew.

I've discovered I must get a very good chair. I'm using a lawn chair... not the folding kind. The plastic kind that actually look like chairs and they sit pretty good, too. But not for sewing or computer work. Once I get the study emptied and ready to sand, I'll bring the desk chair in here.

There is so much to do and I have so little functional time to do it in. And sometimes recovering from what I do takes longer than the project takes. That sanding job is no fun. And cleaning it up, well, that is a terrible mess. If I don't do it correctly, it will be all over the house.

Ok, I've put it off enough. I have to go to bed. It is now scream at me and it is quite difficult to ignore.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What A Difference Chocolate Makes!

Yes, chocolate. I had a candy bar yesterday and one today. No sluggishness all day. However, I did not take the muscle relaxant nor my doxepin. I'm going to reintroduce the doxepin in a few days. I may not start taking the skelaxin again.

What I think is that my blood sugar is not regulated. The fact that a chocolate bar made me feel better is not a good sign. But it was a good chocolate bar!

I've been rearranging things getting read to work on the study. The spare room is crowded but not useless. Today Mike and I moved bookcases and printers. I went and bought new glasses. They had a 2 for 1 deal so I have a backup pair.


I like the blue pair a lot. Makes my green eyes turn blue! Happen when I wear blue clothes, too.

The other pair a a tortoise shell color and I like them as well but for some reason they are not as comfortable as they were in the store. Still, it is the first time I've had a back up pair of glasses. I have an old pair I'm going to have turned into work glasses. Be nice to have that!

I am in a writing and sewing mood. I'll have videos later relating to the sewing mood. The Writer's Asylum meeting on Thursday night and Doug's challenge seems to have spurred us all a bit. If I can keep this clarity my writing will be back on track.



It has rained most of the day and it was really a lovely cool morning. The afternoon it cleared and warmed up but it is now cloudy again as night approaches.

I'm almost in awe at how much better I feel today. I woke with pain in the joints of my hands and my neck is bugging me a bit but other than that, I'm pretty good. I am running out of steam a bit. It is just now 7 p.m. and I'm going to get a hot shower and take my medicine and see where the moment takes me.

I have some video surprise coming up on the Multiply site. I say this because my blog is cross posted to a couple of other platforms.

I'm headed off to fix something to eat. Fried chicken from Buy-Low and field peas from the freezer. I love, love, love field peas!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Asylum Meeting

The meeting went well and I've posted all about it on the Asylum blog. I'm too tired to reiterate. Feel free to visit the Asylum and read all about it.


Actually some interesting stuff there now. I'm impressed.


Doesn't take much.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Slow Row Up River

The week passes like the rows of trees on the river bank as I row my small boat along. Today is Tuesday. I had an enormously busy Saturday with a very painful Sunday. But some positive things got done. Monday dawned bright and the day actually was nice. I got a lovely antique desk, in need of some TLC, for the den that will be perfect for my new sewing machine and even my laptop works well on it. I'm charmed by it and can't wait to sit down and get to work.

I did have a bit of a melt down last night. I'm still tired today because I sat up too late. I must go to bed earlier tonight. I say this frequently. I feel like sleeping is such a waste of valuable time. I've always felt this but as I have aged, my body tends to disagree with me, in various ways, and to punish me if I ignore the demands. So, I have to sleep more. Besides, when I don't get enough, I get even less done.

I've had hiccups off and on all day and it is quite annoying.

I've been listening to a set of cds Becca gave me by a fella called Lou Tice of the Pacific Institute. Motivational speaker. He has some good ideas. Not new but good. He's on YouTube. As a result of listening to these cds I started to do a couple of the things he suggest. One is positive affirmations. I've practiced this in the past with surprising results. Before you go to sleep every night, say these positive affirmations to yourself. For example, tomorrow will be a good day, I will accomplish .... (you add what you want here).  As I said, I've done this in the past. Can't hurt. Actually, I've had several rather calm days and I think it is because of that. So, I'll keep trying it.

Doug made his first post to the Asylum blog. I have to say I am impressed. Doug doesn't really know it yet, I think, but he's got a knack for this. He is probably the leader of the group but we've just never elected him as such. Anyway, drop over and read it.The Writers' Asylum I suspect the Asylum will be doing something different for a bit. I hope the group will want  to try his suggestion.

I've been working on some old videos I found from a couple of years ago. I never posted them and am really doing it so Becca can download them. They are just too precious for words and it was such a great joy watching them. My aunt and uncle will be tickled as well. Everyone seems to love watching Sarah. I realized recently, she's growing up on this blog. That's kind of nice. I'm happy I have so many of these videos of her. I don't have that with my children. And I think she will be glad she has these someday.

I'm off now to try and post the videos I finished. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Nervous Minister

A nervous young minister, new to the church, told the flock, "For my text today, I will take the words, 'And they fed five men with five thousand loaves of bread and two thousand fishes.'"

A member of the flock raised his hand and said, "That's not much of a trick. I could do that."

The minister didn't respond. However, the next Sunday he decided to repeat the text. This time he did it properly: "And they fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fishes."

Smiling, the minister said to the noisy man, "Could you do that, Mr. Perkins?"

The member of the flock said, "I sure could."

"How would you do it?"

"With all the food I had left over from last Sunday!"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other

Link

I had fun reading this but at the end I had to laugh. America has Hollywood. England has the Royals.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Setting Sail

(You'll notice by the date that this was started a month ago. I suppose I saved it as a draft and forgot about it.)

My vacation turned into more of a bust than anticipated. The last five days were simply terrible because I was sick with some kind of cold or allergy. Tuesday I felt better than I had since I took off work nearly ten days before.

I had a bad time with this vacation. The first five days I could not get myself directed. I sat in this house and became more and more depressed until finally I had to get out. I went to the fabric store and bought patterns, fabric, and thread. I came home and managed to get two days of sewing before I practically collapsed with this cold. From Friday until Tuesday, I was more or less immobile. I couldn't breath. I sneezed and my nose ran. I wiped it so much it became raw. And my emotions became as raw as my nose. I cried for no reason and for every reason for days and nights.

I want to say I can't remember feeling so dark in spirit but that wouldn't be true. The last two and half years have been filled with days of such darkness that I don't want to remember. Keeping the blog has been a good thing in this respect. I have been able to go back in time in a way I would not have been able to had I not written it down. I don't go back often. There are some experiences you simply do not want to relive. But now and then, for some reason I find myself looking at entries from those darkest days. These last days have been very dark. I almost looked forward to going back to work.

The analogy has been with me for some time now of drifting on a huge ocean. In one post I mention islands of happiness in a sea of misery. It still holds true, at least for me.

Wednesday morning I was reading the daily devotional that is always near my chair but which I forget at times. I can't remember what I read at the moment but I remember the feeling that nothing makes sense to me anymore. I feel as if I'm adrift on a great sea and I have no idea which direction to steer. My ship, Life, seems to have come to a halt and the sails I set hang limply from the mast. The sea is glass. And as far as I can see, there is no land.

When you are drifting in the doldrums you have little to do except twiddle your thumbs. Blowing the sails will do you no good and only make you dizzy. You need a stiff breeze fill them up and push your bark forward. So, one searches for help in strange places. I went back to study the charts. In this case, my blogs.

Despite what you may think, I still believe that God is always in control. When the storm blows me off track, it is because there is some place I needed to go and my sails were set in another direction. We're creatures of habit and stubborn. Sometimes the only way we'll change our course is to be blown out of it. I believe I've been blown way off course. I've been struggling to chart a new one.

When one is far at sea there are no landmarks, no light houses. The ocean is a shifting landscape of waves and whitecaps, clouds and sky. When far from land, ancient mariners plotted by the stars. There were times, though, when there was no star to steer by, when the heavens were cloaked in darkness and the winds died and the ship was becalmed. And yet, even during the darkest of nights, when clouds hung heavy and there was no wind, the seamen knew that beyond the darkness, somewhere above, the North Star still hung steadfast in the heavens. They had only to wait for the return of the winds to sweep the heavens clear, look up, get their bearings, and sail on.



Monday, June 6, 2011

Stars and garters

Mama was a lady. She didn't curse. She didn't swear. She didn't even use what she called "by-words". Gosh, golly, darn, dang and shoot were forbidden. "WE" did not use such language. I still try and avoid them but I do slip on a couple of them. She didn't even say "swannee".

When something shocked Mama it was a "My stars!" I have no idea where she got it but it was the closest to a swear word I ever heard her say. Sometimes, she said "My stars and garters." In the newspapers when I was child there was a horoscope, on the comics page usually and it was titled "My Stars and Garters". It is the only other place I ever saw the term.

However, when I Googled it today to write this post in answer to Grammy's question, I found where it came from. And it makes so much sense that she used it. She could have heard the previous generation using it but she read widely and I wouldn't be surprised if she'd run across it somewhere that way. Here is the link:


It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Southern part of the United States, during the 19th century had strong ties in England. Many there supported the "Recent Unpleasantness" and there were cultural exchanges. Manners, phrases, and some habits caught on among gentry who traveled and did business overseas. These filtered down to the lower classes. Those phrase, until Mama died, still popped up now and again among my family. Every once in awhile my British contacts make comments and references that I quite understand because I remember people saying the same or very similar things when I was a child.

Sadly, the people I know who kept using those quaint terms and expressions have all but disappeared from my life. So, occasionally, I trot out some of them. They are all I have left of a wonderful woman.

My stars and garters! Can you believe what you can find on Google!

Indiana Police Search for Missing College Student Lauren Spierer - FoxNews.com

Link

I do not know what is wrong with this world. Well, I do, but I can't fix it. Pray for them to find this girl. There is also one in N. Carolina that is missing, a nursing student. Went to get something from her car while working and never came back. These are not girls practicing risky behavior. They are, according to everyone, hardworking college students described as very good students, smart and pretty, well liked by everyone.

I honestly do not know what kind of mind it takes to do these things. Subhumans. Animals, and that's an insult to animals.

Sorry if that sounds harsh and uncharitable but these creatures are a blight on society and a disgrace to the human race.


Hypnotist's On-Stage Injury Leaves Three Audience Members in a Trance - FoxNews.com

Link
Question: What if he had had not come round for days? Weeks? Months? What if he had died?

I'm sure that some regulation must now go through the HoP in order to insure anyone left in a trance can be brought out by someone else in the event that the hypnotist is incapacitated! American will follow to insure that all Las Vegas acts are also covered.

Oh my stars and garters!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Wanna Learn to Sew

Cheryl made a comment this morning that she had a new machine and wanted to learn to use it. More than once I've had these comments in the last five days. I usually get it when I show someone something I've made. It's been a while, but it hasn't changed. I've been sewing in since I was an adolescent. So, with that in mind, here is my beginners training session.

Patterns:

Find a simple pattern with a simple elastic waist skirt and a basic sleeveless top. These are the basics for any outfit you make. I always recommend Simplicity patterns but Nina pointed out in a comment that she recommended Butterick or McCalls patterns because the instructions were better. I've used all three frequently but never found that to be the case but everyone has their own preference in patterns. MacCalls always had the prettiest clothes. There are new patterns out that are very cheap and even easier to make. Simplicity has New Look and So Easy patterns. Both these tend to be very simply outfits to make.

All the major pattern companies have websites now. And they carry discontinued patters, too. You may find something that is perfectly functional in there. Some stores carry patterns much cheaper than others. I screwed up this week and bought some patterns at a more expensive store. I forgot, you see. Whatever the cost, use your patterns in ways that make them last a long time. If you use a $10 pattern for five years, you'll paid $2 a year for the use. Don't be shocked, I've used patterns longer than that! If one begins to get a bit frayed, and they will if you sew as much as I used to, you can buy blank tissue paper in fabric stores, too and trace a copy of the piece on it, writing all the necessary information for that piece on your copy. Then cut it out. You will save a lot of money.

Instructions:

Read those inserts carefully. I always took a pen and marked the information that referred to the items I was making. I'd circle the layout so I'd be sure and get the it correct. They show you a dozen different ways to lay out fabric. Invariably you can get mixed up. The same is true for instruction on putting the garment together. Some multi garment patterns had pages and pages of instructions that cover every step for every piece. I virtually never refer to those anymore but I can remember reading them and getting annoyed because I had to wade through instructions for the jacket when all I wanted was instructions for the skirt. I recommend getting a colored pen or pencil (not a marker as it bleeds thru paper) and mark the instructions for the item you're working on. Then, in a pinch, when you're trying to figure something out, you can easily find the things that apply to your garment.

Manuals:

I recommend getting one. I had one by Simplicity for years that I got in high school! No it was not on stone tables! It was awesome. It had every imaginable thing in it. I never used all of it but more than once I have been annoyed because that book got lost years ago in a move. All the major pattern companies have them. You can find them at fabric stores. I've never bought another one but I've come close a few times. I'm considering it again. Franky, you can get buy without it if you have internet. The internet is a huge reservoir of how-to information. Google your problem and you will come up with hundreds of sites with instructions, pictures and videos. YouTube is amazing for instructional videos on all kinds of craft items. I learned several crochet techniques that have been helpful just by watching some of their videos.

Preparation:

Read your machine manual. Get a scrap of useless fabric or buy a small remnant. They're cheap. Learn every function to your machine by going over the manual and running stitches in that remnant. Once you've done that you'll be amazed at how much more comfortable you feel. If you don't have a manual, simply practice by doing. You can look up anything to find out what it is and what it means. If you have an old machine you got to learn on, you might be able to find a manual for it online. I found some for my current machine! I would have had to purchase it but it was out there. You don't necessarily need a manual... well I do but you might not. Just use that scrap and see what happens.

I still refer to my manual at times. I have sewn so infrequently in the last dozen years that I forget how to use some features. And the more complicated the machine, the more you need the manual. A basic machine is really the best thing to purchase if you're just starting out. My first one had only about half a dozen fancy stitches. Unless you're really into crafts you may not ever use that many. I didn't on the current machine but I'm planning to on my new one.

Supplies:

Make sure you have all the supplies you need for whatever you're making! I invariably forget something. Don't do as I do. Do as I say. I went to the fabric store three times for those skorts and dresses. Why? First trip: fabric. Second trip: patterns. Third trip: thread, and zippers. What can I say. I've not done any sewing for years and it was a sort of spur of the moment. I thought I had stuff in my supply box but I don't. Save yourself the headache. Check the pattern list, write it down and take it with you. If you do have to go back, take a swatch of the fabric with you! I had to buy thread. Do you know how many variations of blue there are? I guessed. Fortunately, I guessed absolutely correctly. I'm actually very good at this! Probably because it is my SOP but it isn't working smart. And I'm not perfect and I could easily have gotten the wrong shade.

Same holds true for the zipper. Unless you've checked out the thread aisle, yes aisle, you can't begin to imagine how many colors are possible in the spectrum. It boggles the mind. A zipper that is even slightly off color will make a glaring statement down the back of your dress: BEGINNER!

Relax:

Incidentally, the thread aisle is a great place to find a pick-me-up. All those colors are actually beautiful and soothing. Yes, I know that sounds crazy. I feel the same way about fabric aisles. The ones where they have the fabrics arranged by colors is truly wonderful. Try standing and just looking at them quietly for a few moments. Notice the brilliance of the reds, the coolness of the blues, the sunny aspect of the yellows. After about two minutes you move closer and start examining the details and then you start feeling the textures. Before you get done, you're thinking of what you could do with this one or that one. I absolutely love fabrics.

Restraint:

Don't dawdle. If you stay too long in the fabric store you will spend hundreds of dollars. Don't look at patterns if you're there for thread. Don't look at fabric if you're there for a needles. I'm telling you, it is very dangerous! Get only the items on your list and get out. Once you've learned the basics and mastered the machine, you can plan your next step.

Fabric:

Based on what I said in the last section, use caution. Fabric is highly addictive. Particularly once you touch it. There are some, like the material I got for Sarah's dresses that once touched, they go directly into the blood stream and cross the blood brain barrier. You will not leave the store without it. These fabrics appeal to the senses and the stores know just how to display them to get you to touch them. Long silky drapes of fabric show you the exquisite colors and allow you to run your hands through the silky folds. These are prominently displayed in fabric stores. Read Genesis 2 and take heed. Do not touch it!

Most stores have remnant bins. For small things for children these can be wonderful, particularly if you're just learning. They usually have less than a yard of fabric and that makes a toddler skirt or simple top. My suggestion start here, master the basics and then move of to the hard stuff.

Mind you, I'm only suggesting. You'll have to manage your addiction.

How Much & What Kind:

That depends on your garment. Follow the pattern recommendation faithfully. IMPORTANT: Regimented patterns such as plaids, checks, stripes, ordered designs, and fabrics with a nap, will required more fabric. You must match the designs up as you lay out your pattern to make your garment appear seamless. This is crucial and very difficult. I once made a velveteen corduroy skirt and forgot the nap. One side look shiny and the other side look dark because the nap went in opposite directions. I knew better but got in a hurry. Trashed. Plaids are the most difficult thing you can sew. Done well, they make beautiful suits. Done poorly and you might as well toss it. It will look atrocious.

Silks, nylons, and satins are by far the most annoying fabrics to work with. They slide all over the place. My grandmother made undergarments such as slips, chemises, and panties. I don't know how in the world she did it. I've tried satins and silks and while I can do it, it is very stressful. Pins fall out, the fabric shifts, the needle and thread must be a special purchase. Just all around annoyance. But.... the finished product can be quite nice.

Growth:

Once you've mastered the basics of a simple skirt and top, then plan your next project. If you're comfortable with it, get a slightly more complicated pattern or a more complicated fabric. A dress tends to have lots more straight lines and is usually collarless but those with fancy necklines are not simple to sew. I've made at least one where it was done incorrectly.

Look on each more complicated project as a challenge to develop your skill. This can become an expensive hobby but a very rewarding one. You can actually see, touch and wear your creations. Or you can see your children wearing them. Do only what you want to do. Do only one item at a time. This way, if you find it isn't something you particularly care for you are not out a ton of money. I'll post a photo soon my my fabric bin. You'll be shocked. At one point in my life I was cranking out an average of an outfit a month. And that's a conservative estimate.

Once people know you can sew, expect them to ask you to sew for them. I've sewn for me, my children, my husband, my niece, and assorted friends and acquaintances. Just say no.


SOP = Standard operating procedure.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The End Approaches

My vacation is nearing an end. It hasn't been much of a vacation. The first part of the week I spent depressed and basically mindless. I did read a lot and I did some crochet. The second half I started sewing projects. I've enjoyed that. But in the midst of it I've come down with a horrible case of something. Probably hay fever with all it's attendant misery. I'm limited in what I can take. Most allergy medicines make me extremely sleepy and I can't take them. Some give me heart palpitations and elevate my blood pressure. Some do nothing for me. So, it is unlikely I'll find anything that actually works.

I did do something totally selfish. I actually went totally off the rails. Most of you know I don't usually splurge on much for myself. I mean, a car is about the only thing I seem to really buy for myself. And that is a necessity. Wouldn't have done that if some nut had been watching where she was going. But other things, well, look how long it took me to actually buy a laptop! I talked about it for two years on the blog before I finally bought it. In fact, Jerry and I had discussed it that long and not until the fall after he died did I actually do it. That is the last expensive thing I bought. Until the car, of course. I've been talking about buying one of those ginormous t.v. sets you put on the wall for over a year now. But have just kept putting it off.

So, today I went shopping. Would you like to know what I bought?

No, not a television.

Yes. I did. It will arrive on Tuesday. This will be the fourth machine I've ever owned. I started with my grandmother's Brother at age 11. It was a great machine. Jerry bought me my own Singer machine when we were stationed in Frankfurt Germany in 1978. I had put it on layaway when I found I was pregnant. The day I came home from the hospital from a miscarriage he picked it up and brought it home for me. I have a photo of me cutting out things that week. I had left Mama's machine, to my eternal regret, with daddy and I have no idea where it is now but I think my mother has it. Jerry learned to sew on that machine and would put his own patches on his uniforms. He liked doing it. That was all the sewing he did of course but he did that. I kept my first Singer for about 15 years, too. Jerry bought me the 2210 below in the early 90's and I used it a lot but after college I gradually stopped sewing except for minor repairs. Once I gained weight it was not as much fun because altering patterns is a lot more work and I got frustrated with it. Until then I didn't have to alter the patterns at all. I will now.

I thought about buying a machine all day yesterday. My old machine is working but it is well over 15 years old. It is one of the first micro-computer machines they came out with. Jerry bought it for me after we moved here in 1990. He was still in service because he bought it at the PX in Ft. Knox, when my sister was stationed there. I have had to have it serviced several times over the years but it still works.


When it begins to drop stitches I know it is time to service but with that costing over $60 a pop, it become less and less of a bargain. I've had it serviced about 7 or 8 times all together. So,I just decided I wanted a new one and since I didn't get that trip to England, I figure this will appease me. I've already started saving again from my trip and will be banking vacation days as well. I'm going to have to do a lot of sewing to make up for the splurge. Besides, I've let this particular hobby wasting for too long. Sarah can reap the benefits... well, if I sew for myself so will I.

I plan to go back to work on Wednesday so won't have much time to play with the new toy for a few days but I am hoping that in the evening I'll put it to use. And my work week will only be three days.

I have discovered several things about me this week. I'm not a very happy person anymore. I always thought I was rather happy. I liked my life and doing the things I always did. Somewhere it changed and became a chore. And work is not something I remotely enjoy. I liked being at home and taking care of my family and home. The things that gave me joy and a feeling of security disappeared over night. When I had to go to work, Jerry hated it and I thought he hated it more than I did. He didn't. Much of the stress I feel is from my job. The rest is from my children. I worry about them constantly, more so since Jerry died, and particularly Mike.

I'm pretty certain that nothing can fix this whole problem. I am a "learn to live with it" person. "Like it or lump" it we used to say as children. I knew what that meant then. I don't now. Suck it up, get over it and all the usual cliches. Life is what it is and I suspect we don't have any control over it. I've heard it said we can control our happiness. If that were true, Jerry would be in the next room. Mike would not be a concern. I'd be planning on how we spend the weekend. Happiness is not in my control. Neither is sadness. It is what it is. So, guess the vacation wasn't a total loss.

Now, I'm going to work on that second skort. I also have some other stuff to do, such as paying bills. I forgot it is the first of the month. House payment due. {sigh}


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another Day Ending

I got up late today, 9:30. I felt horrible. Not only do I have some serious aches, my allergies are in full attack mode. I have a scratchy throat, runny, stuffy nose, and itchy eyes. I got up and got sorted out a bit and then began cutting out the clothes for Sarah. I've been doing videos of it and will see how that works. Better than the crochet ones I hope.

Anyway, I've gotten all but the last pair of shorts and skirt cut. I'm getting ready to do that now. I've got to swap tables between the kitchen and dinning room. The one in the kitchen is bar height and that will relieve the pressure on my back and neck I think. I have to take a break each time I've moved to the next fabric because my back is not happy with the angle I have to bend.

However, I'm confident that I can have these run up in two days at the most. They are simple and no frills. I'll tackle the dresses after these are done. I also will be making her a long lavender skirt out of that remanent I bought. It is absolutely a love fabric and it will be a dress skirt. No pattern needed for that one. Just cut it the right length, run up a seam and run the elastic. I'm going to try and make a hair bow to match it. Haven't done that for her but I have some ideas on it.

I truly love working with fabrics. I had forgotten how much. I've been sewing since I was 11. My aunt called and we were talking about how her mother had taught us to sew. Mama was a whiz at needle work. She could make her own patterns and did. I always was the best dressed child in school. And by the time I could stand up to the machine, I hung over it watching her sew. I probably learned most of what I know by simply watching her do it. I had already made myself clothes by the time I reached high school and had to take home economics. My teacher asked me where I'd learned and I told her. I was so bored making that stupid apron! I knew how to make actual dresses and here I was making an apron. I never wore the thing. It was hideous. Like a sleeveless dress dress that opened down the back and had a button at the neck.

I'm hoping that the sewing goes as easily. My neck and back are just such a mess and such work often leads to a lot of pain in those areas. I have to be very careful with the crochet as well.

Ok, break is over. Must finish this last set and then get ready to set up the machine. I might just get busy tonight!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sunshine & Shadows

I've had a slow morning. I got my coffee and then decided I was going to buy some fabric and make Sarah some skorts. I've been to Wal-mart and bought what is needed to make three skorts and two dresses. I will try and cut them out this evening and make them tomorrow. I can make the skorts in a few hours. The dresses will take a bit more time as they have rick-rack to apply around the waists. I'll post some photos later of the material.

I planned to work in the office and clear it out in preparation to sanding that wall and getting it fixed. But I have all that furniture to move and it is heavy. I'm having some issues from moving things yesterday when I was cleaning. I may not get to the office until tomorrow. I sent Mike home. I needed space.

I have too much stuff. I don't need it. I don't need this big house and huge yard. But I'm here. I need to get rid of some things and get new ones. The huge china cabinet I bought second hand needs to be replaced. The huge desk we bought with matching bookcases. I want to get rid of the desk but not the bookcases. I want a smaller desk. Then there is all the stuff I can't seem to get rid of. Oh, I've gotten rid of a lot but there is more. Too much more.

I've done very little the last four days that amounts to a vacation. I've had very little fun either. I've found myself at the cemetery more this week than I have been in a year. I don't know why. I was remembering today how so much of the last five years we'd not been able to do anything together because the money was a mess and he simply couldn't do anything but fall asleep sitting up. I was unhappy for a long time, nothing has changed, just intensified. I missed him long before he died and I was angry because I didn't understand why he wasn't "there". Now, I know why he isn't here and I'm not angry. I'm unendingly sad and lonely.

There are no simple pursuits. My life was built around another person and now it is just scaffolding standing on an empty plain. It is easy to say "find something you enjoy doing". Everything I've ever loved doing required companionship. I actually like working on the house and yard. I actually like going places and seeing new things. I actually like watching a good movie and laughing at a good joke. I like going to dinner. It is not fun doing these along and some require help. I don't actually want to leave my house anymore. The thought of going anywhere makes me tired. I can sit here for days and stare out the windows. I can crochet. I can clean. I can probably sew. But not constantly. Boredom sets in and I have to stop. Days stretch ahead of me and I haven 't got one clue what to do with them.

I realized last night that I had to plan today or I'd waste another day. At this point, I've managed to use the first half shopping for fabric and visiting the cemetery. This afternoon, I'm hoping I can cut out these skorts. But I'm sitting here resting the leg, which seems to be unhappy that I've required it to walk! From my lower back to my ankle just hurts. I stopped at the pharmacy and bought some more pain medicine to see if it will help. It does at night so we'll see. However, I took it over an hour ago and it isn't better.

I watched show last night called The KGB Psychic Files. Actually it was very interesting and I heard a lot of stuff that shocked me because it fit in with my Simon story as if it were part of it! It was a bit eerie hearing some of my imagination being spouted back at me as a done deal, nearly 100 years ago! Oh please don't tell me there is no such thing as "psychic" ability. Since I seem to "know" things sometimes, and I dream of people dying and they do, and since my grandmother "knew" things, you've come a bit late to tell me that it isn't real. Since I didn't "request" that ability I don't know where it comes from, I just know it is. And since I've prayed NOT to have it and that hasn't worked, I suspect it isn't optional, but standard equipment for humans. It appears we have different strengths and aspects of these abilities. I don't know the triggers or who decides who gets what aspect. I'd much rather be able to pick lottery numbers, particularly since it is currently $200 million.

Besides, we know that the US government funded the remote viewing program for a long time. We know because the documents are there to prove it. They say they no longer have the program. I suspect the simply graduated to something similar. It was apparently useful while they used it. How much so depends on who you ask. There are now "schools" that "teach" it. Google it and you'll see.

I also remembered that if we can imagine it, it can happen. There is Biblical evidence for this in Proverbs. Solomon, you know, the wisest guy who ever lived, said that there was nothing new under the sun. He basically states that every possible thing that we have ever imagined
or done was already in existence before. Before you get all bent over the introduction of the religious aspect let me remind you that Dick Tracy had a wrist watch telephone and two way radio long before anyone imagined it could be possible. Star Trek had Blue Tooth at least 30
years before it was created. Yes, it did... Lt. O'Hura wore an ear piece in the television show that was a wireless communication device. Google for photos of lieutenant U'hura. You'll see. So, Solomon did not lie. I figure he was just as reliable as the comic strips and television shows.

I had several lines of thought going. I thought that if Russian spies and CIA operatives (nice word for spies) could use their minds to this extent, there is nothing impossible for human beings. And if human minds are capable of this much power, how much more so is the mind of God. If we are capable of such power and these abilities are being used in this manner, it is no wonder God hid the tree of life. Whatever they are, wherever they come from, the potential is there. So is the potential for abuse and misuse.We are such horrid creatures and can't be trusted to do good with anything we've been given. If you watch this movie you'll see what I mean. The things the people with these abilities did were absolutely horrible.

I think I'll stop now. It is still hot out but actually it isn't as bad as yesterday, I think. It is nearly 1:30 and only 87 degrees. This time yesterday it was nearly 94. So, a large drop. And I think the humidity is a tad less. I'll go out or I'll sit here and try to write.

Whatever.

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